The Challenges of Delegation
– Questions and Answers –


1. Is it necessary to divide responsibilities at work? Why delegate is not only having someone do the work?

More than necessary, the division of responsibilities is essential for one to realize all the challenges that the corporate world imposes on its professionals. Today, more than ever, nobody does anything alone within a company. Demands are so many and so unpredictable that the boss who does not know how to delegate will not make it.
And when we talk about division of responsibilities, we are saying much more than ordering or asking somebody to do something. True delegation presupposes commitment to accomplishing a task, it is more than a favor or obligation. In this sense, the one who receives the delegation feels co-responsible, embraces the challenge, seeks for the best alternative to have the activity accomplished and, together, rests on their laurels for the victory.

2. Is it common to fear losing power by doing this? Is this fear pertinent? How to overcome it?
What differentiates a manager from a non-manager is just the capacity to delegate effectively. As we have seen, delegation demands sharing the responsibility and the success for accomplishing tasks. This may generate in some managers the fear of losing space and even feelings of rivalry and competition. These reactions, however, reveal insecurity and immaturity from the manager. Just remember that a manager is evaluated exactly for their capacity to have their team perform tasks – and not for the execution itself. A leader is made through their team. Furthermore, managers who are recognized as executors, end up becoming slaves of routine and, for being essential, they cannot be invited to take on new challenges.

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3. Which are the most frequent difficulties faced by female bosses who cannot delegate tasks?

Female bosses who cannot delegate are sentenced to task overloading. Most of the times, they suffer from the Wonder Woman Syndrome, they do 15 things at the same time and are not able to plan because they are always being requested by the team to give a guess at everything. Many times, they have to make important decisions without being able to stop to reflect and find themselves wasting precious hours to ensure the achievement of activities which actually are routine and can be planned.
Usually, lack of delegation comes accompanied by excessive centralization, which makes the team dependent and insecure. In the absence of the female boss, team members panic and the work jams. This is the worst consequence of lack of delegation: the team does not develop. Managers who effectively delegate empower their team: they train skills, motivate, increase levels of initiative and creativity and form successors.

4. How to divide the work within a team?

· Good delegation involves a manager’s time dedication to guide and train the employee. It is just worth to remember that the manager must leave his/her team free to choose its own way to perform an activity. After all, there is always more than one way to get the same result and not necessarily the best way is ours.
· Delegating is different from “abandoning”. Let the team know you will be monitoring task progress and will be available to help the team solve problems and clarify doubts. But remember that your role will be help them solve the problems and not solving for them. Otherwise, they will continue to be eternally dependent on you.
· Clearly define what your expectations are regarding the tasks and determine realistic deadlines for their accomplishment. Be careful not to claim for what has not been agreed and also for not getting carried away by perfectionism. Give margin for error and face them as part of the learning process.
· Lastly, define how far the autonomy of action and of decision for each task goes. Delegation of responsibility unaccompanied by autonomy is the same as non-delegation.

5. What type of responsibilities should never be delegated?

Strictly speaking, all tasks are delegable. The situation (company moment/strategy) and the team’s degree of maturity is what will determine which tasks deserve to be performed by a manager or not.

6. Is there any specific ethics for delegating tasks as, for instance, not giving the employee only boring services, always reserving what is good for yourself?

Delegation ethics also involves:
· Not delegating tasks only because you do not like to do them.
· Delegate based on an employee’s competence and the objectives of development you have set for them and not on a personal preference for this or that professional.
· Not to give up the task. No delegation exempts a manager from following up on results. After all, a manager delegates the responsibility of doing, but the responsibility before the organization is still theirs.

7. How to be sure of your employee’s capacity to execute this or that task? If this certainty does not exist, what to change? What is wrong with the team?

If the manager has no confidence in the employee’s capacity to perform, we will be dealing with a selection mistake – the manager chose wrong people to compose his/her team.

Yet, confidence in the capacity to perform will come with the own delegation process. A planned delegation, where the manager chooses what he/she is going to delegate according to the competences of each team member and with dedication of time for guidance and follow-up has big chances of success. Usually, problems occur when delegation happens in a moment of desperation. Suddenly, the manager realizes he/she will not be able to do it all alone and throws the task for someone to execute without having time to guide and follow up.

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8. Why can it seem so difficult to divide work? What are the main resistances to be overcome?

Many can be the origins of resistance in delegating. But what lies behind most of them is insecurity and low self-esteem from the professional. Besides the fear of losing power, also may generate resistances:
· Lack of planning. Managers who deal with work in such a chaotic way that they cannot prioritize delegation and team development.
· Perfectionism. The manager believes no one can do that task as well as he/she does.
· Fear of making mistakes. Fear of not doing the right choice of tasks or selection of tasks according to the profile of each professional.
· Unpreparedness for leadership. The manager is selected for the position without learning how to deal with people and form a team. He/She has the vice of working alone with focus on his/her own pace.
· Fear of the new. If delegation works, the manager will find himself/herself with free time to dedicate to tasks he/she could not do before. Resistance to changes.

9. Do women have more difficulty in delegating than men?
In this field, both men and women may have the same difficulties and the same facilities. But we have observed that a woman who has passed through the experience of maternity tends to have an advantage. The executive mother had, necessarily, to learn to delegate since it is impossible to create children and work without counting with someone else’s assistance. And delegate part of the responsibility to create and educate children is a unique learning opportunity. The female executive will face in this area all the ghosts of delegation, with an additional: she will be delegating her most important project and for which she has her highest appreciation.